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Renee's Academic Realm\ My Works\ Essay 2 \ 3

Rhetorical Effects of Links

Links certainly have the ability to associate things, be it the linking of related themes by identity, or the juxtaposition of two unrelated text by metaphor. [i] Of course, one can argue that print texts make use of theses rhetorical tools like metaphor and metonymy too, so there is nothing unique about links in this sense. The point is, a print text and a hypertext achieves the same rhetorical effect DIFFERENTLY. In this sense, the different kinds of rhetorical effects of a link are unique to electronic documents. In its ability to associate, a link can imply and generate assumptions.

The way links achieve a rhetorical effect in hypertexts is very different from that found in print texts. Let's take the metaphor "Love is a journey" as an example. In a print text, the author would achieve this metaphorical effect by putting the set of lexical items typically for describing a journey into the context of love e.g. 'Our relationship has hit a dead-end street', 'Our marriage is on the rocks', 'Our relationship is off the track'. For electronic documents, however, a mere juxtaposition of two totally unrelated texts is enough to create a metaphorical effect. For example, to borrow from Burbules, linking a page listing Political Organizations to a page on the Catholic Church might make a reader think about politics and religion differently.


[i] Burbules gives a rather detailed outline of the different kinds of rhetorical effects links can create, and rather than regurgitating from him, I shall not go too much into it again.

1 | Introduction 2 | Links Have Effects 3 | Rhetorical Effects
4 | Structural Effects 5 | Aesthetics 6 | Conclusion

Copyright Renee's Realm. 2000.